Halep hammers Pliskova for final four spot


After successive first-round exits, top-seeded Simona Halep is going deep into the draw at this year's Australian Open, advancing to the quarterfinals by beating Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-2.

Tattoed Pliskova, 24, stands 1.86 metres tall (6ft 1in) and used her height to serve more aces than any other player on the WTA Tour previous year.

Kerber is in scintillating form, having won the lead-up Sydney International, and will face either Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska or Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I had nothing clear in my head - I just went on court to take it match by match".

Karolina Pliskova may have been somewhat confused by being compared to a cucumber after reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open but she was crystal clear about what she needed to do to go a step further.

But the aggressive Pliskova has pledged to hold nothing back after overcoming a tough challenge from fellow Czech Barbora Strycova which ended in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"I am pretty strong on the return, or at least I am practising that", Halep said.

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"To have such a great two weeks and then have it end the way that it did, it was really devastating for me, so it definitely took some time to get over", she said of her US Open runner-up effort. I have to be ready, be calm and try to dominate the match and finish the points.

Halep has won five of their previous six career meetings, including a tight three-set triumph in the semis a year ago at Roland Garros.

"The feeling in my muscles is gone and I don't feel my ankle any more", she added.

Halep made only 10 unforced errors in the entire match compared to 28 made by Pliskova and soon, the result became a mere formality.

A double fault and 2 forehand errors cost Karolina another service game while serving at 2-5 and that break pushed Simona over the finish line, cruising through the semis and looking to maintain this level against a former victor Angelique Kerber as well.

The sole grand slam champion remaining in the field, Kerber disarmed the heavy-hitting American with power-punching from the baseline and remarkable consistency. "Just from the back of the court, you know, he was like a wall". If I don't play well I don't have the chance.